A Comparison of Cell-Enriched Fat Transfer to Conventional Fat Grafting after Aesthetic Procedures Using a Patient Satisfaction Survey.
INTRODUCTION: The role of regenerative cells in adult human fat is still unfolding. At present, limited clinical studies comparing patient satisfaction with cell-enriched fat transfer (CEFT) to conventional autologous fat transfer (AFT) for aesthetic indications have been performed. Herein, we present our data obtained from patient satisfaction questionnaires. METHODS: Patients undergoing fat grafting received AFT or CEFT. Study participants were surveyed for overall satisfaction, symmetry, deformity, scarring, and pigmentation. Hospital charts were reviewed for complications, and patient survey responses between the groups were compared. RESULTS: Between January 2009 and September 2011, 36 patients had 6-months follow-up and were mailed surveys. Of these, 17 (12 CEFT and 5 AFT) returned completed Patient Satisfaction Rating surveys. At a median follow-up time of 10.7 months, the overall mean satisfaction rate was 5.2 of 6 (5.3 vs 5.0 for CEFT and AFT, respectively, P = 0.42). There were no significant differences about deformity (5.1 vs 4.7, P = 0.50), symmetry (4.5 vs 5.0, P = 0.48), or scarring (5.3 vs 4.5, P = 0.23). However, pigmentation was improved in the CEFT vs the AFT groups (P < 0.001). No patients in the AFT group noted skin pigmentation improvement, whereas 7 of 12 receiving CEFT noted improvement in skin pigmentation. CONCLUSIONS: Cell-enriched fat transfer to the face and body of aesthetic patients produces high satisfaction rates. Our preliminary data demonstrates similar satisfaction with regard to symmetry, scarring, and deformity in patients treated with CEFT versus AFT, without any complications. Unexpectedly, a clinical and statistical improvement in pigmentation was seen for patients treated with CEFT over AFT. Further studies need to be done to better understand this phenomenon.